Category: Salad

20 Main Dish Salads to Continue Your Healthy January Adventure

20 Main Dish Salads to Continue Your Healthy January Adventure

{print recipe for Kalamata Egg Salad with Charred Red Peppers}

If you’re not trying to get healthy this month, you might still want to read this week’s post featuring main dish salads.  Even if all you managed to accomplish was to clear out your entire cellar’s store of Pinot Noir but skipped every red, green, and silver Hershey’s kiss you encountered (and so didn’t gain an ounce in December), you could drum up interest in hefty, heart-warming and filling whole meal salads–if nothing else but to figure out what to do with leftover steak (leftover steak?!), those couple of lonely pork chops, an oh-so-sad single portion of salmon, one languishing chicken breast with wing attached, or perhaps only a drawer full of vegetables and cheese with little else to recommend them but a poached egg or two and maybe a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

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25+ Scrumptious Dishes to Jump Start Your Healthy January

25+ Scrumptious Dishes to Jump Start Your Healthy January

Basil Sole on Greens with Parmesan-Tomato Salad                        {print recipe}

Every year on January 2, many people around the world wake up knowing they’re just one cookie away from a bigger pants size.  Gyms memberships rise, WW (Weight Watchers) Workshop chairs fill up, and dog walkers double their pet’s exercise along with their own. I began WW for the 4th (5th?) time just before the start of December, so while I didn’t wait until after the Christmas fudge tin was empty, I did move into this arena right upon finishing the last piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

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Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table

Best Summer Sides from More Time at the Table

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad

This week marks the beginning of weekend picnics, warm holiday get togethers, nights in the backyard, weeks at the beach, days at the cabin, and all kinds of thrilling grilling on your balcony or patio!  For fun, I ran through my TOP FAVORITE original summer sides on More Time at Table and brought them all together in one place just before Memorial Day.  I’ll keep perusing my files and as I find other luscious things I think you’d like, I’ll stick them in.  Be cool!

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Dutch Oven Beef and Italian Sausage Stew

Dutch Oven Beef and Italian Sausage Stew

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Give me a cold day. Any cold day. Let me have time and peace to stir together something that incubates in my oven gently easing its teasing, come-hither aromas throughout the house and drawing near all who enter.  Add an entrancing, captivating book waiting for me during that 3-hour parole and I am a happy girl. Ok, include a balanced, but lofty bottle of wine and the deal is sealed.

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No-Cook Dinners

No-Cook Dinners

Food-Antipasti platter

  Antipasti platter or, in Italian, un piatta di antipasti.  A bit dear, but consummately satisfying for a special occasion. 

Every year about this time, there’s a night when we have only wine, cheese, and fruit for dinner. We eat it in the cool basement on three trays–one for each and then the cheese platter between us on the third.  An old movie plays on the tv. There’s not a salad or even a cooked vegetable and definitely not any sort of cooked meat. The wine is icy white or rosé.  Sometimes even the grill feels too much to do or too hot to light.

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Ina Fridays — Sides, Salads, and Soups –Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad

Ina Fridays — Sides, Salads, and Soups –Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad

I’m so ready for fall. There I said it.  Ach.  While the tomatoes are coming on (a good thing), the heat, too, doesn’t want to go away. I long for nights with the windows open and no air-conditioning white-noise drowning out the morning birds and joggers.  (Ok, the late night drunks, too; I live in the city.)

 Because heat IS NOT MY FAVORITE THING, I’m always glad when cool weather appears.  Suddenly I’m cleaning house, working in the yard, roasting chickens, making chili, and generally appearing like I have a bit more energy than the dirty dish rag in the sink.  But I do think that because I’m an avid home cook, and a person who loves change, that I only get about half-way through a season before I’m longing for the ingredients and cooking styles of the next.  And that’s about where I’m at.  The h— with salads and grilled salmon and definitely the h— with white wine. Give me some red meat to cook, for God’s sake.  A couple of bottles of Pinot Noir.  Let me want a rip-roaring fire.  I long to wear a sweatshirt and jeans.  I’ve destroyed my summer sandals and shoes cooking in them; it’s time for real leather, isn’t it???  (Isn’t it?)

Tomorrow I’m cooking dinner for the cover artist for my book, the talented Daniel Craig and his lovely wife, the accomplished and beautiful pianist (St. Paul Conservatory) Kim Craig.

Available Fall, 2013– amazon.com

Dan’s an inventive, top-flight commercial artist, and I thought I’d cook him a steakhouse meal as a thank-you for joining my team. (You feel pretty alone writing a book until you have an editor, designer, and artist.)  Just to have Dan to talk to once in a while has been so heart-warming for me.  Sharing my little baby with him.  Trusting him to “get” my focus.  Believing in his abilities–and he in mine.  Anyway, I splurged on some Kobe beef, and am making crostini with homemade fresh cheese and grilled tomatoes (with Champagne), traditional Caesar salad, Old-School Twice-Baked Potatoes, Lemon Green Beans, and Tin Roof Sundaes — with homemade sauce as well as homemade ice cream.  (I made David Lebovitz’ Salted Butter Chocolate Sauce.)  Tin Roofs, you might guess, are Dan’s downfall.  And, you knew it, the temperature is supposed to hit 91 degrees F.  Insert nastiness of your own making.  I’ll share one difficulty:  Dan drinks beer or white wine. I’ve got to jump down into my small (but sweet) cellar and see if I have a big, oaky, chewy Chardonnay that will stand up to a steak. I might have ONE Fisher Chard. (Do you know Fisher?  Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful California–actually Sonoma, not Napa winery.) Otherwise, I’m putting myself at the mercy of Thomas Liquors. I’ll admit that I’ll open a red for Dave and me.  (We are still waiting on some editing and production items before the book goes to press.  Hopefully soon!)

Lemon Green Beans here.

Today, already up in the ’80s, I’ll admit I was glad to have something cool to pull off for supper–Ina’s Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad.  But I sure hope next month’s blog happens with it’s 50 degrees F so I can leave something in oven for a couple of hours.  In between, I have to move.  So if you’re a once a month reader, you’ll catch me on the flip side living in Colorado full-time again and cooking at-altitude recipes.  So 50 degrees–it’s a real possibility!

Our Colorado front yard (west) in the late fall.  In the far distance is Pike’s Peak!

As this recipe is posted on line, I felt free to re-print it here; I do include the link below.  This is a hearty, but heart-healthy salad that could serve as a main dish or a side. If you’re taking it to someone’s house, put it together and dress it when you arrive so the melon doesn’t “melt”  around the edges.  For Weight Watchers, leave salad plain and let each guest dress their salad. The devil is in the details, i.e. the vinaigrette.

Just for fun, I took this salad outdoors and photographed it in different parts of my garden.



arugula, watermelon, and feta salad                  
              6 servings

Ingredients:
For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup minced shallots (1 large)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

6 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/8 seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces good feta cheese, 1/2-inch diced
1 cup (4 ounces) whole fresh mint leaves, julienned

Directions:  Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, salt, and pepper.  Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion.  If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.   Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl.  Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well.  Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/arugula-watermelon-and-feta-salad-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback



So what did I think:  A toothsome journey into a mix of textures –juicy, tender-chewy, crunchy– and ambrosial-briny tastes.  While this salad has been around a few years and blocks, I hadn’t made it yet.   Dave and I both enjoyed the luscious sweet, liquid watermelon juxtaposed with the citrusy-onion vinaigrette, peppery arugula, and salty feta.   With a piece of toasted or grilled bread, perhaps, this would be a whole meal for someone without a huge appetite.  Summery, summery contrasts! The more Dave ate this, the better he liked it.  While maybe a tad skeptical at the onset, he ate a lot, and ended up saying, “This is definitely my kind of thing!”

What made the difference:  Making this salad when Minnesota watermelon was at its peak made a world of difference.  I also splurged on Spanish (sheep) feta — a square cut from the larger cheese in brine–and was really happy with the results.  Ina’s instruction are to cut things into smaller pieces; I chose the lusher, larger cuts for grins and giggles. Why not? I like big wedges of melon.  Instead of tossing the elements in a big bowl, I served the salad composed on a large platter so that the colors showed up a bit more.   And, ok, I did use GOOD olive oil, as indicated. In fact, I used Ina’s favorite, Olio Santo. (California), available at Williams-Sonoma.  In other words, one of Ina’s primary tenets — use the best ingredients you can afford in season — was proved totally valid.  Shop well.  

Alyce’s options:  Try spinach, goat’s cheese, and cantaloupe in place of the arugula, feta, and watermelon.  
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If you’d like to try a similar salad of Ina’s that uses Parmesan in place of the feta and skips the orange juice, check here.
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more ina??? why not???

Anna Quindlen’s Interview with Ina. (2011)  Don’t miss this.

Keep in touch with Ina regularly; friend her on fb!

Check out the Ina Fridays fb page here.

Take a tour of Ina’s barn at House and Beautiful–Fun Slideshow

Barefoot Contessa dot com—for Ina’s blog, recipe index, book info, and more

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ina

ALL ABOUT INA FRIDAYS:
The first Friday of the month, food bloggers from many parts of the world join together in posting a favorite Ina recipe.  This month we have Salads, Soups and Sides; next month we’re cooking a Main Course. 

Stop in and see what all of our fine writers are cooking up today or any day:

*Not all writers will blog Ina every week–there’s work, vacation, family–but take a peek anyway.

Are you a food blogger? We’d love to have you every month or even once in a while! Email Alyce @ afmorgan53@yahoo.com to join the group or link in to join us occasionally (click on blue oval link button at bottom and follow prompts) only if you’re blogging Ina! No other posts, please?! 


On my Dinner Place (Cooking for One)  Blog This Week: 
  Grilled Oregano Shrimp Caesar with Tomatoes and Crostini


Sing a new song… and Shanah Tovah! to all our Jewish friends and bloggers,
Alyce

Ina Fridays — Main Courses — Israeli Couscous & Tuna Salad

Ina Fridays — Main Courses — Israeli Couscous & Tuna Salad

   I’m going on vacation after this post. The blog is going with me.  See you late June! 

If you weren’t up for a new tuna salad, this full-of-flavor high-five salad from Ina Garten’s newest book BAREFOOT CONTESSA:  FOOLPROOF; RECIPES YOU CAN TRUST, might make you change your mind.  Made from a good many pantry ingredients (canned tuna, Israeli couscous, roasted tomatoes, olive oil) plus a short list of freshly-purchased ones (oil-cured olives, lemon, herbs), this meal comes together in about fifteen easy minutes.  While the couscous cooks, you’re doing a bit of chopping; by the time the couscous is done, you’re mixing up and serving.

Great for a hot night on the patio, you could stir this up in the morning before the heat begins–or even the night before.  Pop it in the frig and you’re all set.  Leftovers are perfect for lunches.

israeli couscous & tuna salad    (CLICK FOR RECIPE)

 Chop your fresh ingredients while the couscous cooks for about twelve minutes. Ina calls for plain Israeli couscous, but I used an Israeli couscous blend that includes orzo and a few other grains or legumes. I bought it bulk at my local grocery, but Trader Joes often carries it; you can order through the link.   Another name for Israeli couscous is pearl couscous.  If you can’t find any at all, or don’t like couscous, use orzo or a sturdy rice.  I make a salad similar to this (lots of parsley instead of basil/no olives) and use canned white beans. Recipe at end.

 Next, mix most of the fresh ingredients plus the olive oil and spices  in a large bowl.

 Strain the couscous and stir it into the tuna mixture while the couscous is still hot.

Right before serving, stir in the fresh herbs and scallions.

WINE:  A cold and crisp Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps a citrusy New Zealand bottle, would be a good choice for this salad.  No wine tonight?  Unsweetened Iced Tea with Lemon is a thirst-quenching choice.

DESSERT:  Sorbet–lemon or raspberry.
  

                         SO WHAT DID I THINK?

Overall, I liked it.  In fact, I liked it lots.  This is just my kind of food.  Fish, olive oil, lemons, olives…  An easy Mediterranean feel and not terribly expensive.  Good, healthy everyday eating with plenty of leftovers.  I adored the large amount of black pepper, which gave the salad a healthy warm zing without hot sauce or red pepper flakes.

What did I change?   While this is a basically healthy recipe and not terribly high in calories, I did cut the oil in half and I also cut the salt nearly in half.  The recipe calls for a tablespoon of salt, but I find Ina’s recipes sometimes a little salt heavy for optimum health.  I left nothing else out.    I did not use the jar of Italian tuna in oil called for, but rather used a can of premium, wild tuna packed in water.

What would I add? When I make this again (and I will), I’ll add another cup of fresh vegetables like chopped celery, or yellow bell peppers, or perhaps green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces. The additional vegetables would decrease calories, increase fiber and nutrition, and stretch the recipe out a bit.  A few nuts for garnish  add some crunch, texture, character, and depth to the dish.   I had pine nuts, and added just a few on top.  Any chopped tree nuts would do, but pine nuts just fit in with this dish. 

If I had no basil, I imagine I’d be happy with fresh parsley or even parsley and thyme.

While the dish is plenty on its own, I could serve this with lots of sliced tomatoes or green peppers, a big bunch of green beans, or even a spinach salad.   If I hadn’t had dairy that day, I might add a small piece of cheese or a small scoop of cottage cheese with whole wheat crackers at the side of the plate.

 What might you do?  Big appetites would enjoy a bowl of soup with this meal… Some gazpacho or other tomato soup are two choices.  Don’t like couscous?  Make brown rice, orzo or any other tiny pasta like tubetti or ditalini.

Cook’s Note:  If serving the next day, save a little oil and lemon juice, as well as the basil and chopped scallions, to refreshen the salad before serving.

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ALL ABOUT INA FRIDAYS:

 The first Friday of the month, food bloggers from many parts of the world join together in posting a favorite Ina recipe.  This month we have main courses; next month is Desserts and Other or Miscellaneous Recipes.  Note:  After this round, drinks will go with appetizers instead of with Desserts and Other.

Stop in and see what our fine writers are cooking up today:

Are you a food blogger? We’d love to have you! Want to join in one time a month? Email Alyce @ afmorgan53@yahoo.com  or link in to join us once in a while (click on blue oval link button at bottom and follow prompts) only if you’re blogging Ina! No other posts, please?! 

It is possible some of our writers may be in and out of the Ina group periodically.  If you click on their blog and there’s no Ina recipe that day, check their index for previous entries or return another time.  Thanks.

IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE

alyce’s tuna-cannellini bean salad with feta

ingredients:

  • 6-7 oz can tuna, drained and flaked with a fork 
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained — or any canned white beans
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped finely
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green)
  • 2 eggs, boiled and chopped*
  • 1 carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach or parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 anchovies, smashed or minced, optional
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1T red wine vinegar
  • 2T extra virgin olive oil
  • generous pinch each kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red or aleppo pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled or chopped feta

In a medium bowl, mix everything but the feta.  Taste and see what it needs.  Dry?  Add a bit more oil?  Bland?  Add a bit more red wine vinegar.  Spoon into bowls and garnish with crumbled or chopped feta.  Happy eating!

*I make these eggs in the microwave.  Spray a cereal bowl with PAM.  Add two eggs and poke with a sharp, small knife–once in each yolk and several times in whites.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on full power for 2 minutes.  Remove and let sit a minute or two to cool.  Carefully unwrap and tip bowl onto cutting board before chopping eggs.

Sing a new song,
Alyce

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50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #50 – Julie Powell – Poached Eggs

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #50 – Julie Powell – Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs:  They’re not just for breakfast anymore.   Alyce’s  Poached Egg Chef’s Salad

If you saw the movie “Julie and Julia,” you’ll know Julie Powell didn’t like eggs.  While working her way through Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume I in one year, Julie one day had to wake up and smell the eggs.  Yuck.  Something she never cooked.  But eggs were on the list and eggs are what she finally did fix.  And liked.  Who knew?

To begin with, Julie was a young married woman in NYC with a job that was stressful.   She needed more.  She loved to cook.  What else to do but to cook all of Julia Child’s recipes from The Art of French Cooking in a year and blog about it?  The original blog (2002-3?) is still online if you’d like to peruse it; blogs have changed immeasurably since then.  I actually did read it once upon a time…  If you’d like to read quite a bit of it all at once, you can still order the book, Julie & Julia .  As you more than likely are aware, the book became a very popular movie of the same name (2009) that taught everyone I know about  food bloggers.  I no longer ever have to explain what I do with my free (insert eye roll) time; people just say, “Oh, like Julie in Julie and Julia.”  I just nod my head, “Yes.”  What more can I say? She did change our world.  No doubt at all.  I don’t know how many food bloggers there were in 2005 versus 2012, but a current figure  (wrong/right?)  is over 11,000 in the United States alone.  Smile.

As far as poached eggs go, I’m a fan.  I often blog them:

Egg Salad #2

Alyce’s Asparagus-Mushroom Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Poached Egg #3
Poached Eggs on Grilled Cheese Tomatoes–one of my favorite breakfasts
After the cut.

Don’t know how to poach eggs or are scared?  Ah, gwahhn.  Heat up some water and let those eggs slip naked into the hot tub.   There are ways to make them more perfect, but here’s the easy lesson I posted in my Dinner Place blog, which is all about cooking for one person: 


Alyce’s Method for Poaching Eggs:

1. In a deeper small skillet or saucepan, heat 3″ water to boiling.  Turn down the heat to simmer and add a small splash of white vinegar (1 tsp) if you have any.  You don’t want a big boil here, the whites will fly all through the water.

2.  Crack one egg into a ramekin or tea cup and tip the egg slowly and gently into the water, holding the cup in place for a couple of seconds as the egg begins to set.  Repeat with second egg a certain distance away so that the whites, if possible, aren’t touching.  Either let simmer for 3 minutes or so (occasionally spooning hot water over yolk if you like)  or, alternately, turn heat off and cover tightly for 3-5 minutes, depending on how set you like your eggs.  3 for runny yolks, 5 for firm.  Approximately.

Not perfect, but perfectly edible.  Just add salsa.
I like my eggs “eye ball” set (haven’t drawn hot water over tops) and quite runny — often for salad dressing or part of anyway.   Most people want the yolk completely masked–above.

3.  Remove each egg from its bath using a slotted spoon or spatula and tap the spatula gently on a towel or paper towel to remove excess water before sliding the egg onto the plate.

4.  Season well with salt and pepper.   Eat immediately.

A couple of tips:  Room temperature eggs crack more easily than cold eggs; you have less chance of shell fragments.  Also:  crack  your eggs on a flat surface, not on the edge of the pan.  You can also buy egg poachers (metal cups with long handles on legs) or silicone poachers for the microwave.  I’ve never tried either gizmo, so let me know if you like them.

Here’s my equipment:

 
And, of course, tasty eggs–all sizes!

We can raise chickens right in the city here in St. Paul.  These are from Cathy Velasquez-Eberhart and her ladies.

Here’s my copy–a first edition even.

Julia’s Method

 Notice that Julia Child was always “Julia Child” until the movie came out.  Now she’s just Julia.  Kind of like Just Joan. (“Jewel of the Nile” l985–Kathleen Turner)  Well, maybe not!

Just for grins, I’m going to look up Julia’s instructions. Hold on.  Whoa.  This is all coming back to me.  If you’ve the book (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I), it’s on pages 116-117.  Yes, it’s two pages of instructions that you’re welcome to.  I make my instructions short and simple; you’ll learn technique and improve your eggs over time IF you’re a beginning cook or even an accomplished cook who hasn’t made poached eggs.  Not that my technique is better (cough cough), but while I’m wordy, I’m not quite as wordy as Julia—usually. 

One biggy is that even Julia admits you might want to make a 6 minute (boiled) egg instead of poached.  (Not likely for me.)  She also wants you to use fresh eggs, which are worth hunting for.  Check out your Farmer’s Market if you can’t find eggs any other way.  You can then set up a schedule to buy eggs from that person throughout the year.  I trade things for my eggs–things like baked cookies, granola, homemade ice cream sauces, etc.  You could try trading a service even.  Often, however, the eggs are no more expensive than quality eggs from the store.

One thing Julia writes is that if you need to keep the eggs for any length of time, place the cooked eggs in ice water.  You can store them in the frig like that.  Later, to heat them, slide them into salted hot water for 30 seconds. This is perfect if you’d like to have some friends for Sunday brunch.  You fix your poached eggs on Saturday, and do the hollandaise and English muffins (oven) on Sunday.
Or what if you’d like to do a few eggs for yourself for weekday breakfasts?  Do them Sunday afternoon and eat them Monday-Tuesday.

A Couple of Thoughts About Eggs 

We eat a lot of eggs and while they have a bad rap for cholesterol, so far we have no problems as we ease on toward 59.  I encourage young or new cooks to make eggs.  They are easy, fast, accessible, and inexpensive protein.   They store well.  They travel beautifully (if boiled.)  You can do all kinds of things with them!  In two minutes flat, you have an omelet and you can put nearly anything in the frig or pantry into it.  In twenty, you’ve cooked a dozen, boiling, and you  have lunches for work done.  Go eggs.

Want more about Julie Powell?

Watch a great video of Jacques Pepin and Julia Child poaching eggs together.  Julia uses the metal egg poacher with the long handle!  HA HA!!
Read Amanda Hesser’s 2003 NYT article about Julie Powell’s “web log or ‘blog'”
NYT 2009 updated article on Powell
Julie’s 2010 blog
Wiki biography
Time Magazine, 2010–Julie becomes a butcher.

~

With this post,  I give a low bow and fine thanks to our great group of bloggers writing about Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changers in Food as we come to the tail end of our project.  A few folks will write another post summing up the whole 50 or writing about someone spectacular who didn’t make the list (Marion Cunningham for me), but mostly this is our last hurrah.    I joined the group late, but have enjoyed all of my experience and am thankful for all of the learning, camaraderie, and fun…  Please take time to visit the other fine bloggers and see what they made for “Julie” week — or any other week, for that matter.

THANK YOU, LADIES:

Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table
Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Martha – Simple Nourished Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sara – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Several of us plan to begin another blogging venture (though I’m about to put the blog on vacation and join up a little later) featuring the 38 healthiest foods featured in 


Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients by The Editors of Whole Living Magazine (Dec 28, 2010)

I hope you’ll join us!

Sing a new song and poach a new egg,
Alyce

Meatball Subs

Meatball Subs

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My very last post was the story of two great ladies of food, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, of Canal House fame.  While I often blog original recipes, it’s been fun so far being part of the food blogger group that’s cooking a 50 Women Game-Changers recipe each week.  So I kind of hate to throw in something pedestrian like a meat ball sub.  Except for one thing:  these are great meatball subs.

Continue reading “Meatball Subs”